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“We become human only on leaving Eden, mature only in realizing that childhood is over.  We come home to the fullness of our humanity only in owning and taking responsibility for present awareness as well as for the full measure of our memories and dreams.  Graceful existence integrates present, past, and future.”  –Sam Keen, To a Dancing God [1970]

Sam Keen (born 1931) is an American author, professor, and philosopher best known for his exploration of questions regarding love, life, religion, and being a man in contemporary society.  He also co-produced Faces of the Enemy, an award-winning PBS documentary; was the subject of a Bill Moyers’ television special in the early 1990s; and for 20 years served as a contributing editor at Psychology Today magazine.  [He completed his undergraduate studies at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and later completed graduate degrees at Harvard University and Princeton University.–Wikipedia]

“The story is the basic tool for the formation of identity.

“A large part of our self-concept consists of the narrative by means of which we remember and relate our past experiences.

“Human life is rendered ultimately meaningful by being incorporated into a story.

“Telling stories is functionally equivalent to belief in God.  **

“Once the individual recovers his or her history, she or he finds it is the story of every man.

“The more I know of myself, the more I recognize that nothing human is foreign to me.  In the depth of each person’s biography lies the story of all man.”

Actually, telling our story strengthens our ego:  “The very process leads the teller to become aware that he or she is a person with a unique history of triumph and tragedy, with as yet unfulfilled hopes and projects.” 

**“In exploring the significance of the metaphor of the story, I will suggest that telling stories is functionally equivalent to belief in God, and, therefore, ‘the death of God’ is best understood as modern man’s inability to believe that human life is rendered ultimately meaningful by being incorporated into a story.”  —To a Dancing God

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“The greatest friend of truth is Time…” –Charles Caleb Colton [1780-1832]

Richard Gary Brautigan (1935–c. September 16, 1984) was an American novelist, poet, and short story writer.  During the 1960s, Brautigan became involved in the burgeoning San Francisco counterculture scene.  In the summer of 1961, he completed the novels A Confederate General from Big Sur and Trout Fishing in America.  When Trout Fishing in America was published in 1967, Brautigan was catapulted to international fame.  Literary critics labeled him the writer most representative of the emerging countercultural youth-movement of the late 1960s.  Also during the 1960s, Brautigan published four collections of poetry as well as another novel, In Watermelon Sugar (1968).  In the spring of 1967, he was Poet-in-Residence at the California Institute of Technology.  Later he was generally dismissed by literary critics and increasingly abandoned by his readers; then his popularity waned throughout the late 1970s and 1980s.  Brautigan’s writings are characterized by a remarkable and humorous imagination.  The permeation of inventive metaphors lent even his prose-works the feeling of poetry.  Evident also are themes of Zen Buddhism like the duality of the past and the future and the impermanence of the present.  In 1984, at age 49, Richard Brautigan had moved to Bolinas, California, where he was living alone in a large old house that he had bought with his earnings years earlier.  He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. [summarized from Wikipedia]

Some Poetry texts: Please Plant This Book (1968); The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster (1969); Rommel Drives on Deep into Egypt (1970); Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork (1971)….

“Ozymandias” by English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822), January 1818

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains.  Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Time marches on (as if Time can march), and the desert wastelands are poeticized by Brautigan:

Rommel Drives on Deep into Egypt

                —San Francisco Chronicle headline
                    June 26, 1942

Rommel is dead.
His army has joined the quicksand legions
of history where battle is always
a metal echo saluting a rusty shadow.
His tanks are gone.
How’s your ass?

So how are things in the Syrian Desert?

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“We are what we believe.”  –Mary Hambidge [1885-1973]

A lifelong pursuit of creativity, along with a love of dynamic symmetry and natural beauty, led Mary Hambidge to develop an artist’s community in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Rabun Gap, Georgia: Located in northeastern Georgia where the Blue Ridge and Nantahala Mountain ranges meet.  Hambidge is 100 miles from Atlanta, and 80 miles from Asheville, North Carolina.

Hambidge is the oldest artists’ residency program in the Southeast, and one of the oldest in the nation, founded in 1934, to provide artists and other creative thinkers with the setting, solitude, and time necessary to create,

HAMBIDGE CENTER

Meeting House from search Courtesy of Hambidge House

Mary Crovatt became involved with Jay Hambidge (1867–1924), an artist and writer who achieved fame with his books on design and “dynamic symmetry.”  Though they never married, she took his last name.  After his death, she had envisioned a place in the Georgia mountains where crafts and agriculture could be practiced according to the principles developed by Jay.  She expanded dynamic symmetry and imagined a self-sufficient lifestyle emerging from the practice of balance and proportion.  In his memory, she created the Hambidge Center, believing that creativity can best be nurtured through working closely with nature.

In the early days of Hambidge, she employed local women to create exceptional weavings, but with the industrialization of the 1950s and the availability of steady mill jobs, the weavers slowly disbanded.  Hambidge broadened the scope of the center and invited creative artists and friends to come for extended stays there.  

One landscape architect often brought his son along with him; Eliot Wigginton returned to the Hambidge Center while a teacher in the area in 1966. Discussions with other Hambidge guests inspired him to develop the Foxfire program, in which students explored their local and regional heritage for the magazine that they created under his guidance.   

Foxfire books  from eBay“The teacher’s approach put to action John Dewey’s progressive premise that classroom learning should be a form of democratic life in which students actively demonstrate their knowledge and skills by immediately using them to improve society.”  [in Carl Glickman, KAPPAN, Feb. 2016: p. 55]

Foxfire remains alive where it was created.  For others, “it is realistic and imperative to expect that students today can apply what they are learning in English, math, science, history, and the arts to making their communities healthier, more caring, economically viable, and aesthetically better places to live.  That would be the ultimate success for Foxfire and for our country.”  [Glickman, p. 59]

Mary Crovatt Hambidge, from native of coastal Georgia to New York model and actress, to student and creative artist and weaver, to builder and visionary to missionary for the arts, remains in spirit as a driving force at Hambidge today.

. . .

The Hambidge Center has gathered many of her writings and papers and put them together in a book Apprentice in Creation: The Way Is Beauty.

“Work is one form of worship.” 

“I’d rather be one little cog in the wheel of truth than the entire wheel in a machine of lies.”

“What the world needs today is love, not religion.  …psychological love.  Religion comes from love, not love from religion.  The world was created by love, not religion.  Religion is man made.”

“Never have the forces of the world met together with such power.  Shall it be for destruction or creation?  I believe in the divinity of man and the immortality of his soul, therefore I believe that creation will triumph.”

“All life is working towards a state of exaltation.  One does not stay in this state, but by means of it, one is led into that world of beauty where one remains.  Moments of ecstasy come when the divine inner beauty of things, of life, is overpowering.”

“One knows that everything that contributes to this life that goes on, this making of perfection, is important.  Everything we suffer, every shortcoming, every weakness we must struggle against is the result of someone who has gone before who has not conquered it.  If we abandon the fight, it is not only we who suffer but those who come after.”

“I know now that to lose one’s faith in humanity is to lose one’s faith in God.  Humanity is God.  Life only is God, and humanity is the highest expression of Life.”

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“And poetry [is] still the underwear of the soul.”  –Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Do we REALLY know what poetry is?  Can/will it ever be defined?  Adequately?

“Poems don’t just happen.”  –William Stafford

“Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.”      –P. B. Shelley

“I would define, in brief, the Poetry of words as the Rhythmical Creation of Beauty.  Its sole arbiter is taste.”  –E. A. Poe

“…poetry…the best words in the best order.”  –S. T. Coleridge

“We read poems for pleasure; they entertain us.  And we read them for instruction; they enlighten us.”  –Robert DiYanni

“Poetry takes all life as its province.  Its primary concern is not with beauty, not with philosophical truth, not with persuasion, but with experience.”  –Laurence Perrine

Poetics involves the theories about the forms and purposes of poetry.

“We’ve been reading poems in school, but I never understand any of them.  How am I supposed to know which poems to like?”   “Somebody tells you.”  –Charles Schulz

“Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth, by calling imagination to the help of reason.”  –Samuel Johnson

“Poetry is the language that tells us, through a more or less emotional reaction, something that cannot be said.”  –E. A. Robinson

* * *

 “since feeling is first” –E. E. Cummings

 “Do not go gentle into that good night, …” –Dylan Thomas

 “Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, …” –W. H. Auden

 “When I consider how my light is spent, …” –John Milton

 “The sea is calm tonight.”  –Matthew Arnold

 “Come live with me and be my love, …” –Christopher Marlowe

“A poem should not mean//But be.”  –Archibald MacLeish

“When lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed, …” –Walt Whitman

“The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, …” –Thomas Gray

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”  –G. Manley Hopkins

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, …”     –E.  A.  Poe

 “Why so pale and wan, fond Lover?”  –Sir John Suckling

 “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, …” –Robert Frost

 “I know what the caged bird feels, alas!”  —Paul Laurence Dunbar

 “Little Lamb, who made thee?”  –William Blake

 “Sundays too my father got up early…” –Robert Hayden

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“VIRTUCRAT”: “any man or woman who is certain that his or her political views are not merely correct but deeply, morally righteous in the bargain.”

“After all these years, I may have found my own best reader, and he turns out to be me.”

Some selected works:
Divorced in America: Marriage in an Age of Possibility (1974)
Familiar Territory: Observations on American Life (1979)
The Middle of My Tether: Familiar Essays (1983)
With My Trousers Rolled: Familiar Essays (1995)
Snobbery: The American Version (2002)
Friendship: An Exposé (2006)
In a Cardboard Belt!: Essays Personal, Literary, and Savage (2007)
Distant Intimacy: A Friendship in the Age of the Internet (with Frederic Raphael) (2013)
A Literary Education and Other Essays (2014)

“I read in the hope of discovering the truth, or at least some truths. I look for truth in what some might deem strange places: novels and poems, histories and memoirs, biographies and autobiographies, letters and diaries.”

“I’m not so sure that statistics have much to tell us about a cultural activity so private as reading books.”

“Serious readers…when young they come upon a book that blows them away by the aesthetic pleasure they derive from it, the wisdom they find in it, the point of view it provides them.”

“For myself, I have come to like books that do not have photographs of their authors, preferring my imaginings of their looks to the reality.”

Joseph Epstein

Joseph Epstein

“Books are an addiction.”

“Nearly all modern stories or memoirs of growing up are accounts of sadness, loss, secret terror.”

“Many people write or become psychoanalyzed in order to bury the ghosts of their childhood. I wish, as best I can, to revive the ghosts of mine….”

“Thinking too much about the future resembles thinking too much about breathing–the result is to make one feel very uncomfortable. Best to glory in what was finest in the past, to concentrate on the present, and to allow the future to fend for itself.”

“…without friendship, make no mistake about it, we are all lost.”

“. . . I seek clues that might explain life’s oddities, that might light up the dark corners of existence a little, that might correct foolish ideas that I have come to hold too dearly, that might, finally, make my own stay here on earth more interesting, if not necessarily more pleasant.”

[See http://memoriesofatime.com/2013/05/27/why-i-read/%5D

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“Leadership cannot be exercised by the weak. It demands strength–the strength of this great nation when its people are united in a purpose, united in a common fundamental faith, united in their readiness to work for human freedom and peace. . .”–Dwight D. Eisenhower

Leadership Theories:

Ohio State Leadership Studies (1945):

The leader is concerned with organizational patterns, channels of communication, decision-making procedures, and organizational goals.

In addition, the leader has focus in establishing and maintaining positive relations with staff and workers.

In all of this, theorists find that good leaders are able to analyze a situation, depending on the personality of the leader.

Another leadership theory concerns itself with friendly work atmosphere, friendliness, trust, and respect both from workers and from employers, so that morale is kept at a balanced level.

Finally, there is the “Situational Theory of Leadership.” The leader’s behavior depends upon his or her maturity level acquired with skills and experiences. Each particular situation requires skill, experience, and a sense of responsibility for achieving goals.

Some leaders never “get better”; others do.

Once again, it all seems so simple, simply put, clear.

It is difficult to be a good leader, and also to be a good follower of a good leader. Sometimes the mix will never be achieved. Personalities clash, goals are not attainable, work environment is unstable,

Then, there is another theory for work:

 “THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES!”

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by Robert Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land, 1961

In 1962, Stranger in a Strange Land won the 1962 Hugo Award for Best Novel–and became the first science fiction novel to enter The New York Times Book Review‍ ’​s best-seller list.

In 2012, it was included in a Library of Congress exhibition of “Books That Shaped America.”

“I was not giving answers. I was trying to shake the reader loose from some preconceptions and induce him to think for himself, along new and fresh lines. In consequence, each reader gets something different out of that book because he himself supplies the answers … It is an invitation to think – not to believe.”

“In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.”– —Robert Heinlein

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